International evaluation of Aarhus BSS Graduate School

Aarhus BSS Graduate School is a very strong, very well organized PhD school, with excellent PhD students and graduates, concludes international evaluation of the Graduate School

According to the Danish Ministerial Order no 778 of 7th August 2019 (The University Act) §14, 5, Danish universities must evaluate their Graduate Schools regularly. The evaluation must be by a panel of acknowledged international researchers. In 2021 Aarhus University has evaluated its five Graduate Schools. The last evaluation was conducted in 2015. The evaluation is based on two elements: a self-evaluation report written by the individual schools documenting the organization and performance of the Graduate School, and a site visit and written report by the international panel.

An international assessment panel visited Aarhus BSS Graduate School for two days during September 2021. The panel consisted of four internationally renowned researchers and was chaired by Professor Ingo Zettler from University of Copenhagen. The other members of the panel was Professor Thomas Saalfeld, University of Bamberg, Professor Janine Leschke, Copenhagen Business School and Pro-dean Tore Nilssen, University of Oslo. During the visit the panel met with PhD students, supervisors, programme chairs, the Graduate School administration and the faculty management.

The assessment panel emphasizes in its conclusion that Aarhus BSS Graduate School is a very strong and well-organized Graduate School with excellent PhD students and graduates. They are particularly impressed with the number of PhD students that complete on time. The assessment panel states in the conclusion that their recommendations represent recommendations only that might help the Graduate School to maintain and slightly enhance the high quality. They do not see any major aspect that would dramatically improve the quality of the PhD education in general—simply, because the Graduate School is on a very high level already.

Some of the recommendations for improvements of the PhD education at Aarhus BSS Graduate School are listed below:

  • A clear description of the role of the co-supervisor, as it can vary between PhD programmes, as well as a clear clarification of expectations with the PhD students about what they can expect from a supervisor, also in the form of supervisor hours.
  • Continued dialogue about the plan evaluation culture, to ensure that “honest” feedback is given throughout.
  • Opportunities for further focus on career clarification for the PhD students, including both in relation to the university sector, the public and the private labor market.
  • Finally, there were a number of recommendations regarding the integration of international PhD students as well as educational elements such as PhD courses, stays abroad, teaching, etc.

The PhD committee has started initial deliberations about the conclusions of the report and will continue working with the recommendations during the Spring of 2022.

Read the report from the international assessment panel here